Ida Applebroog (American, b. November 11, 1929) is a celebrated feminist artist. Born in the Bronx, NY, Applebroog attended New York State Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences in the late 1940s. In 1956, she moved to Chicago, where she attended the Art Institute in the late 1960s. She then moved to San Diego, CA, where she participated in an all female artists show called 21 Artists - Invisible/Visible at the Long Beach Art Museum in 1972. After teaching at the University of California in San Diego for a year, Applebroog returned to New York. She began work on a series of self-published books, such as Galileo Works (1977), which she mailed out to friends, galleries, and other people in the art world. These books were the foundation for her larger sequential works such as Sure I’m Sure (1980). In 1977, Applebroog joined Heresies/A Feminist Journal on Art and Politics. By 1981, she had held her first solo show at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NY, entitled Applebroog: Silent Stagings.
Applebroog is best known for her multi-partite paintings of everyday life, which she represents as traditional history paintings. The artist is not afraid of any subject matter; she frequently paints subjects of illness, aging, and sexual assault. In her works, Applebroog portrays what she sees as social immorality, and gives a bigger importance to smaller events and people she views as victims of society, especially women. Famous artists such as Edouard Manet (French, 1832–1883), Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906), and Giotto (Italian, 1266–1336) have had a significant influence on Applebroog’s compositions. The series of paintings Modern Olympia (1997–2001) depicts abused and abusive nude figures, mostly women, based on compositions by these male artists of the past.
Throughout the 1990s, Applebroog received the College Art Association Distinguished Art Award for Lifetime Achievement, an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from New School for Social Research/Parsons School of Design, and the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Recently, Applebroog worked on a series of “Photogenetics,” a combination of photography, sculpture, painting, and digital media. She currently lives and works in New York, NY.